PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs exercise autonomy in decision-making and provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services including prescribing medication. The role of the PA includes provision of primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practices located in a variety of settings and geographic locations. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.
The Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (SUPA) program is a graduate entry-level professional course of study enabling individuals who hold baccalaureate degrees to become PAs. The program is designed to prepare graduates for practice and the team approach to the delivery of healthcare. The program integrates graduate-level critical thinking and analysis, problem solving, scientific inquiry, self-directed learning and the effective use of modern technology for professional practice that includes elements of research, leadership, education and continued enhancement of the PA profession.
Looking for more information on the PA profession and applying for admission? Check out the Physician Assistant Education Association’s (PAEA) main site and Pre-PA Student page where you’ll find a wealth of information about applying to PA programs, paying for school, CASPA, and much more.
- Submit all application materials to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at caspa.liaisoncas.com/, including official transcripts from ALL institutions of higher education attended.
- Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate an alignment with the mission and core values of the program. This alignment is assessed in the SUPA admission process including review of application and interview.
- The application also includes a supplemental essay to address this alignment directly. Candidates will be asked to choose three of the Shenandoah University PA Program’s Core Values and, in a total of 500 words or less, explain how they have demonstrated those three core values in action.
- A Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required to be completed prior to matriculation to the program. Applicants from all academic disciplines are welcome to apply, provided they meet the prerequisite course requirements.
- Submit all application materials to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/ including official transcripts for all institutions of higher education attended and three recommendations.
- Minimum 3.0 cumulative undergraduate, overall science, and SUPA Program prerequisite Grade Point Averages (GPAs).
- GPA requirements are assessed at the time of application for review; any outstanding coursework that is not included in GPA upon application will be reviewed before matriculation. If a GPA falls below the minimum after application and before matriculation, a seat offer will be revoked.
|Course||Courses||Min. credit (semester)||Min. credit (quarter)|
|Human A&P with Lab||2||8||10-12|
|General or Introduction to Chemistry||1||3||4|
|General Biology (or Biochemistry)||1||3||4|
|Microbiology with Lab||1||4||5|
|Introduction to Psychology*||1||3||4|
*For students who have received advanced placement (AP) credits for Introduction to Psychology, an additional psychology course is required. Please review the suggested psychology courses listed below in “Recommended Coursework”.
The courses below are recommended to better prepare for the Shenandoah University Physician Assistant curriculum; they are not evaluated to determine the competitiveness of an application:
|Course||Courses||Min. credit (semester)||Min. credit is (quarter)|
|Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry||1||3||4|
|Developmental, Child, or Abnormal Psychology||1||3||4|
- A grade of “C” or above is required for all prerequisite courses, however, it is strongly recommended that prerequisites be completed with a grade of A or B. Grades of “C-” or below are not accepted for prerequisite courses.
- No more than TWO prerequisites can be outstanding at the time of application.
- It is recommended that all prerequisite coursework be completed within 5 years of matriculation; the program will not accept any prerequisite coursework taken 10 years before the time of matriculation
- The program requires that Human Anatomy & Physiology courses are taken at the same institution. If they are not, an additional audit and internal review will be required after application submission to ensure comprehensive coverage of topics. Human Anatomy and Human Physiology may be completed as two individual courses or by taking a combined Human Anatomy & Physiology I and Human Anatomy & Physiology II course sequence over two terms. Comparative anatomy, vertebrate anatomy, functional anatomy, animal physiology, anatomy and physiology designed for specific disciplines, or fundamentals of anatomy and physiology courses are not counted toward the A&P requirement.
- Prerequisites must be completed at a college or university in the United States. Courses completed at Canadian institutions will be evaluated on an individual basis.
- It is recommended that prerequisite coursework be taken in-person, however online coursework is accepted.
- Advanced Placement credit (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits are not accepted to fulfill the prerequisite course requirements. For students who have received advanced placement (AP) credits for Introduction to Psychology, an additional psychology course is required from the courses listed under the “Recommended Coursework”, as these subjects will have the most relevance to the program curriculum.
- The program will accept “P” or related grades as satisfying any of the program’s academic prerequisites for courses taken during the following COVID-impacted timeframe: Spring Semester 2020 – Spring Semester 2021. Grades reported as Failing (F) or as Incomplete (I) will not be considered as fulfilling prerequisites.
- In some cases, work experience specific to the science course older than 10 years may substitute for repeating the course. Upload a formal request, a supervisor letter, and a resume to your CASPA application for review. We are unable to review these requests in advance of application to SU.
- A medical terminology proficiency exam will be administered during summer orientation. Failure to meet the minimum benchmark will require a formal remediation plan to be completed during the first summer semester.
- The program does not offer academic credit for experiential learning/work experience.
Characteristics of Students
Admitted in 2022 – Graduate Class of 2024
Number of Applications
Number or Seats
Overall Cumulative GPA
Overall Science GPA
SUPA Prerequisite GPA
Patient Care Experience Hours
Shadowing Experience Hours
If you have questions or need further information about financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
Through the generosity of alumni, community friends and foundations, the SUPA program is able to provide several scholarships each year. Additional information regarding SU, private, and professional association scholarships will be provided for matriculated students in their first fall semester. Candidates interested in exploring loan repayment opportunities through the National Health Service Corps scholarships should call NHSC at (800) 221-9393 or visit the NHSC Web site.
The admissions committee, through a collaborative and holistic process will grant one of the following admission decisions to those interviewed:
Is offered to admitted candidates with a conferred bachelor’s degree and successful completion of all program prerequisite courses.
Is offered to admitted candidates with outstanding requirements which may include:
* A Bachelor’s degree in progress. An official transcript showing the degree conferral must be provided no later than by May 31.
* Incomplete prerequisites. Remaining courses are to be completed by May 15 with official transcript(s) received by May 31.
A limited number of candidates will receive alternate status in which rank or position will not be disclosed due to its dynamic nature. Those not notified of an admission status by early-mid June must reapply to be considered in a future cycle.
Applicants denied admission will be notified in writing and must reapply to be considered in a subsequent admission cycle.
Technical standards establish the non-academic criteria required of SU PA students to participate fully in the program beginning at admission, through matriculation, promotion, and graduation. They include attitudes, experiences and physical requirements each student must possess in order to learn and perform the essential requirements of the program and are achieved with or without reasonable accommodations. All SU PA Program students are expected to be able to continually demonstrate the abilities specified below at matriculation and throughout the educational program.
Physician Assistant Program students:
- must be able to assimilate and learn a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information; to solve clinical problems; and to synthesize and apply concepts and information from various disciplines;
- must be able to maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress;
- must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients from any social or cultural backgrounds and develop effective professional rapport with patients and co-workers;
- must be able to communicate and document clearly, accurately and efficiently in English;
- must be able to adequately perform the following techniques and interpret their findings: inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation;
- must be able to properly use standard medical and surgical instruments;
- must be able to perform and interpret findings from common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g. blood drawing, suturing) and clinical and technical skills;
- must be able to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, balance, and equilibrium;
- must be able to transport oneself or provide transportation to educational experiences off campus;
- must be able to fully participate in program scheduled learning and assessment activities that may occur between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm including occasional weekend obligations:
- must be able to participate in clinical rotations that operate during all times of the day/night, including weekends.
Prior to beginning coursework, students are required to authorize and submit to a criminal background check, including sex offenses and crimes against minors. A history of a conviction at the felony level may prevent the student from placement for clinical training and thereby ability to satisfy graduation requirements. Students must also submit to drug testing required by clinical practice sites or the program. Non-compliance with the criminal background checks and/or drug testing policies may be cause for dismissal from the program.
DOMAIN I: PATIENT CARE
Competency A: Gather a medical history
* Ensures patient comfort
* Establishes and maintains ethically sound and therapeutic rapport with patient (and/or family)
* Reviews medical record for relevant past data
* Recognizes and interprets verbal and non-verbal cues
* Gathers all relevant components
* Adjusts according to patient-specific factors
* Elicits psychosocial and socioeconomic factors which may impact upon patient’s health
Competency B: Perform a physical examination
* Explains examination procedures
* Ensures patient comfort and privacy
* Utilizes diagnostic tools appropriately
* Assesses general status of patient
* Utilizes the skills of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation
* Obtains vital signs
* Examines/assesses appropriate systems
* Employs special procedures/techniques where appropriate
* Adjusts according to patient-specific factors
* Utilizes principles of economy of time and motion
Competency C: Perform a medical and surgical procedures
* Performs basic and advanced cardiac life support
* Provides wound care including wound closure and removal of foreign bodies
* Obtains specimens (blood, fluid or tissue)
* Administers medications by various routes
* Assists in surgery (first or second assist)
* Performs basic office-based procedures (See SUPA technical procedures list)
* Applies principles of aseptic technique and universal precautions
* Demonstrates knowledge about procedures performed by specialists
Competency D: Recognize a patient needing urgent or emergent care and initiates evaluation and management including referral
DOMAIN II: MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE
Competency A: Analyze data and develop a prioritized differential diagnosis
* Analyzes subjective and objective findings
* Recognizes diagnostic patterns
* Recognizes impact of social and behavioral issues on differential diagnosis
* Applies principles of epidemiology and principles of evidence-based medicine
Competency B: Recommend/order and interpret common diagnostic and screening tests
* Orders appropriate diagnostic tests based upon differential diagnoses and care setting
* Considers cost, sensitivity, specificity, invasiveness, appropriate sequencing
* Repeats or orders additional tests as indicated
* Orders/performs appropriate screening tests based upon evaluation of risk factors
* Makes informed decisions about diagnostic interventions based upon patient information and preferences, as well as up-to- date scientific evidence and clinical judgment
Competency C: Develop a therapeutic management plan (acute and/or chronic care)
* Applies principles of pharmacotherapeutics
* Considers patient’s overall condition including socioeconomic factors
* Develops plan in consultation and cooperation with patient (and/or family)
* Includes nonpharmacologic modalities as appropriate
* Considers options including referrals and consultations
* Implements a process for follow-up
* Monitors and adjusts plan for maximum effectiveness and avoidance of adverse outcomes
* Makes informed decisions about therapeutic interventions based upon patient information and up-to-date scientific
evidence and clinical judgment
DOMAIN III: COMMUNICATION
Competency A: Documents clinical encounters in the patient record
* Utilizes standard medical charting principles to accurately document and record information regarding findings and care processes
* Prepares summaries as needed (admission, discharge, and surgery)
* Uses written, oral, and electronic communication techniques
* Maintains confidentiality of medical record
Competency B: Provides oral presentation of a clinical encounter
* Synthesizes data, including pertinent positives and negatives
* Communicates clearly and succinctly
* Responds to questions and request for additional information
* Give or receive a patient handoff to transition responsibility of care
Competency C: Provides patient and family education
* Maximizes patient autonomy
* Employs variety of methods of patient education to ensure understanding and learning
* Instructs patients in health promotion and disease prevention principles
* Assists patient/family with utilization of community services
* Develops patient education materials
* Includes family members as appropriate
* Ensures patient understanding and avoids medical jargon
DOMAIN IV: PROFESSIONALISM
Competency A: Demonstrates professionalism, cultural sensitivity, and interpersonal skills with patients, families, community members, and members of the health care team
* Maintains patient confidentiality
* Maintains high moral and ethical standards
* Works effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
* Demonstrates respect for individual and cultural diversity
* Recognizes limitations and seeks counsel
* Promotes and advocates for the physician assistant profession and ideals
* Applies humanistic approach to health care (includes respect, compassion, and integrity)
* Modifies approach to patient care based on environment and resources
* Demonstrates emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity)
* Collaborates as a member of an inter-professional team
* Recognizes and modifies non-effective verbal and non-verbal communication
DOMAIN V: PRACTICE-BASED LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Competency A: Acknowledges the importance of lifelong learning professional education
* Prepares for obtaining and maintaining certification status and credentialing
* Keeps abreast of current medical/surgical trends and technology
* Provides education to community and/or profession
* Keeps abreast of technological advances
* Utilizes reflection to grow personally and professionally
* Formulates comprehensive research questions to improve health care
* Identifies systems-level failures and contributes to a culture of safety and improvement
* Demonstrates emotional, physical, and mental health; and pursues continual personal and professional growth
DOMAIN VI: PROFESSIONAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS OF HEALTH CARE
Competency A: Utilize administrative, management, and research skills
* Complies with local, state and federal laws and regulations
* Monitors health care for quality outcomes and cost effectiveness
* Follows guidelines for third-party reimbursement
* Critically appraises scientific literature
* Utilizes technology and information to enhance patient care and patient education
* Obtains informed consent
* Implements up-to-date and optimal reimbursement, billing and coding practices
DOMAIN VII: INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE AND LEADERSHIP
Competency A: Demonstrates leadership skills
* Advocates for self, patients, families, communities, and the profession
* Displays a service-oriented attitude
* Demonstrates servant-leadership for profession, community, and clinical practice
* Recognizes the value of participation in the education process (mentor, teacher, or preceptor)
* Advocates for and/or participates in care of medically underserved populations
* Demonstrates leadership initiative
* Maintains emotional, physical, and mental health; and pursues continual personal and professional growth
* Applies skills needed in organization management, personnel management, and mentorship
“I chose SU because of the close relationship between the student and faculty, how much they value diversity, and they’re ranked top 25 best PA schools in the nation! I felt at home when I was interviewing with Shenandoah and I knew this program was the right fit for me. My why for PA school is helping people and making their lives better in some way, the motto I follow from the Global Medical Brigades is to “save lives, change lives, better lives.”
Mahtaub Darvish ’23, PA-S
“I chose SU because I love this area and the beautiful mountains, it’s also close to my hometown- Rappahannock County. I was drawn to this program for its emphasis on service to medically underserved populations, its acclaimed reputation, and the comfortable environment I felt when I visited and interviewed.”
Julia Estes ’23, PA-S
“The day I interviewed with this program, I just knew it was the program for me. The tight-knit atmosphere among the students and faculty has only solidified this for me every day. My peers are amazing, and I get to have fun while doing what I love. From day one, the atmosphere has always been one of encouragement, shared success, and learning from each others unique backgrounds. It is an honor to work with such amazing people everyday, and I have this program to thank for the opportunity!”
Hafsah Iqbal ’23, PA-S
The admission information provides both the potential and matriculated student with details about the educational program leading to a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS). It should be viewed as an adjunct to Shenandoah University’s Graduate Catalog and the Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (SUPA) Program Student Handbook, which contain specific information regarding the university and related policies. The information herein is subject to periodic revision and these changes will be relayed to candidates and students in a timely manner. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to be aware of all degree requirements and to work closely with an adviser to ensure that these requirements are fulfilled. Student success is very important to us, and we are committed to helping students achieve their goal of becoming a physician assistant. Please send any questions regarding the application and admissions process to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SUPA Program participates in the web-based Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) service through which, with a single application, one may apply to multiple PA programs nationwide.Information to help you understand our program and the application process for the 2023-24 admissions cycle:
- Application Process Timeline
|CASPA Opens||April 27, 2023|
|Application completed and e- submitted to CASPA||August 1, 2023|
|Verified applications and all supporting materials due||September 1, 2023|
|Interview top candidates||July 28, August 25, September 22, 2023|
|Deposit due||1-2 weeks after admissions email is received|
|Classes start||July 2024|
Mandatory orientation for the Class of 2026 will take place June 2024, before the start of the first summer semester at a date communicated upon seat offer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) Why should I apply early?
The Shenandoah University PA (SUPA) Program uses a type of rolling admissions which encourages applicants to submit their applications early, allowing for a much greater opportunity to be selected for an interview and making it more likely to secure a place in your preferred location.
2) Am I too old to apply?
The Shenandoah University PA (SUPA) Program’s admissions policies do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. Candidates are urged to review the Technical Standards located on the SUPA program website and consult us to determine if the University can provide reasonable accommodations to meet the Standards for practice.
3) Will you evaluate transcripts or courses before I apply?
Due to the volume of applications received each year, we are unable to offer this service to candidates who are not current CASPA applicants. Please read the entire section on prerequisites in the admissions guide for further guidance. If you are unsure if a particular course will satisfy a prerequisite, you may email a course description and syllabus for review to email@example.com once you have applied to the SUPA Program through CASPA.
4) How do I apply?
The SUPA Program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) the Customer Service Representatives of which are available M-F, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (ETS) by phone at (617) 612-2080, or you may email CASPA.
5) Does the program require a supplemental application?
Yes, preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate an alignment with the mission and core values of the program. Students will choose three of the values and explain how they’ve been used in action via an essay of 500 words or less. There is no fee for this required part of the application.
6) When should I send my materials into CASPA in order to meet Shenandoah deadlines?
We strongly recommend that you submit your completed application by August 1st in order to meet our application verification September 1st. Otherwise, delays in CASPA processing could jeopardize consideration of your application.
7) What are the typical number of applications and number of seats available?
For the 2022-23 admissions cycle, we averaged over 10 applications per seat. In 2022 we admitted 60 students (42 for the Winchester campus and 18 for the Scholar Plaza, Loudoun site).
8) Is my application viewed more favorably if I am a Shenandoah University (SU) student/graduate or complete prerequisites at SU?
a) SU Student –an articulation agreement between SU’s undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and our graduate School of Health Professions (SHP) provides a pathway to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies for any currently full-time enrolled SU student earning a baccalaureate degree from the university. Students will submit a CASPA application, and as long as admissions requirements are met an interview invitation will be granted. If a student is not offered a seat in cohort initially, the student’s application will automatically be entered into the pool of regular applicants. The SUPA Program reserves a set number of seats for current SU students under the articulation agreement.
b) SU Graduate – Students who take a gap year, or are otherwise an SU alum are ineligible to be considered for the Articulation Agreement.
c) Visiting/Non-degree Student –Visiting and non-degree students are ineligible to be considered for the Articulation Agreement.
Students desiring to enter Shenandoah University as a freshman and who wish to be considered for the SUPA Program should review the Early Assurance program.
1) What are the prerequisite requirements for entrance?
The entrance requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 overall cumulative, science Grade Point Average (GPA) and prerequisite GPA, and at least a letter grade of C (A or B is competitive) obtained in each prerequisite course. GPAs are calculated by CASPA at the time of application, and repeated courses are included in calculations.
The course requirements are detailed on our SUPA Program web site. Prerequisite courses required for admission include:
Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II with labs
General or Introduction to Chemistry
General Biology (or Biochemistry without a lab)
Microbiology with lab
Introduction to Psychology
It is recommended that all prerequisite coursework be completed within 5 years of matriculation; the program will not accept any prerequisite coursework taken 10 years before the time of matriculation. Human Anatomy & Physiology courses are required to be taken at the same institution.
A medical terminology proficiency exam will be administered during summer orientation. Failure to meet the minimum benchmark will require a formal remediation plan to be completed during the first summer semester.
2) Can I apply before my prerequisites are complete?
Yes. You may apply if you are confident that you will be able to complete all prerequisites, including a bachelor’s degree, no later than May 15 of the enrollment year with official transcripts documenting this completion received by May 31. It’s required that candidates have no more than two outstanding prerequisites left to complete at the time of application.
3) Why must courses be current within ten years?
Information rapidly changes in today’s academic environment. Thus, students should have a knowledge base that is current and up to date. If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has worked in a science-related discipline allowing him/her to remain current, then the candidate may petition the program to substitute work experience instead of repeating the course(s). This requires documentation to include a formal request, resume and letter from a work supervisor. The petition must be uploaded to one’s CASPA application. The PA Program does not review petitions until the application is received.
4) Do you accept College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits, Advanced Placement credit (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) for prerequisite courses?
Advanced Placement credit (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or CollegeLevel Examination Program (CLEP) credits will NOT fulfill prerequisite course requirements.
5) Do you accept prerequisite courses completed at community colleges?
Prerequisites may be taken at any college or university (regionally-accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education), which includes community colleges which are not evaluated differently than equivalent four year institution courses.
1) Does the SUPA Program require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other entrance exams?
No. We do not require the GRE, MCAT, PA-CAT, or any other entrance exam.
Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (SUPA) Program:
1) Where can I find out more information about the SUPA Program?
Candidates are encouraged to visit our SUPA Program website regarding admission details and curriculum. In addition, Information Sessions (Open Houses) are hosted. These sessions provide an opportunity to meet faculty and students, tour our facilities, and receive further information regarding the PA Profession in general and the SUPA Program in particular. The dates and registration form are posted on SUPA’s Information Session Registration Page.
2) Is the SUPA Program accredited?
Yes, the program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). The next review of the program will be in March 2025.
3) What is the length of the SUPA Program?
The curriculum is 30 months (eight terms) in duration beginning in early July each year. The program includes three summer sessions and graduation is in December. The first five terms are primarily didactic (classroom and laboratory) and the last three terms are the clinical phase. There are opportunities for clinical exposure (primarily observational) during the first year. Clinical rotations total 47 weeks. Additional information regarding the curriculum is found on our website.
4) Can I work while attending the PA Program?
The program is only offered on a full-time basis. Because of the rigor of the program, students are strongly discouraged from working either part-time or full-time while enrolled.
5) What is the pass rate on the national certification examination?
SUPA’s pass rate for first-time takers over the past five years (2018-22) is 93 percent. The national pass rate for the past five years is 94 percent.
6) Do you offer a dual enrollment program?
Yes. Shenandoah University also offers a Master degree in Public Health (MPH) program. Up to 15 credits of MPH coursework overlaps with graduation requirements for the PA & MPH Dual Degree option, thus saving students both time and money. Additional information is available at PA/MPH Dual Degree. Students may elect to enroll in the Dual Degree option before, during, or after starting the PA program.
1) Where are SUPA Program’s clinical sites? May I complete clinical rotations in my hometown or home state?
Most clinical rotations are located within a ninety mile radius of students’ home campus in Winchester or site in Loudoun County. However, students may be required to complete rotations that are beyond this radius. Students are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses during the clinical year. The program will work with the clinical site to help identify inexpensive local housing when the assignment is beyond commuting distance, but this cannot be guaranteed. Students in good academic standing may apply to complete faculty-approved clinical rotations at distant sites. Students are not asked to find their own clinical placements.
Grade Point Averages (GPAs):
1) If I do not have a minimum 3.0 overall cumulative, science and prerequisite GPAs, is there any point in applying?
An applicant with an overall cumulative or science GPA less than 3.0 but greater than 2.80 and who has completed a minimum of 15 semester hours of relevant graduate work with a 3.0 or better GPA, may be considered. Average GPAs for students admitted to the SUPA Program have been over 3.5 for the past several years.
2) I have retaken a class; do Shenandoah and CASPA look at the new grade or the average of both?
CASPA does not recognize individual school’s forgiveness, academic renewal, or grade replacement policies in regards to repeated courses. All grades which you earned for repeated courses will factor into your CASPA GPA. (See the CASPA website for more details on GPA calculation.) Shenandoah does not recalculate GPA other than for a) additional coursework taken after application is submitted to CASPA, or b) independent evaluations of foreign transcripts.
1) Where should I obtain references?
It is required that one reference must be provided from an academic source (e.g. professor, academic advisor), and one from an employer/supervisor. The third reference may be any source that can speak to the applicant’s suitability for the profession.
1) Do you require healthcare experience (HCE) and, if so, what type and how much?
Although we do not require HCE or PA shadowing as an entrance requirement, it is recommended.
2) May I add additional hours of health care experience to my application after it’s been submitted?
Applicants can update their applications per CASPA guidelines at any time. Because this program does not require health care experience, the choice to update records is up to the individual applicant.
Campus Site Locations:
1) What is the facility like at the Northern Virginia Campus location?
The Scholar Plaza Loudoun (SPL) site is located near the campus of Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, Virginia. SPL is a newly renovated facility with classroom space containing state of the art technology, along with a large and fully equipped physical exam lab, and a state-of-the-art cadaver lab. It also includes a cafeteria, student study lounge areas, and a small fitness gym.
Applicants note campus preference in their application, however, the SUPA program cannot guarantee that all students will be placed at their campus preference site.
2) If I attend the program at the Scholar Plaza, Loudoun (SPL) site, will I have access to the same faculty and other resources as the students at the Winchester campus?
While core faculty will be based at one of the two sites, they are accessible to all students at both locations. All students are assigned a faculty advisor from the core faculty at their assigned site. Faculty maintain an open-door policy for students when they are in their office, or students can make an appointment. Student-faculty meetings can also take place face-to-face or by virtual means.
Most resources required for academic work are available online for all students which includes access to the learning management system, texts, journals and library services. Wellness, learning, and writing services are also offered at both campuses.
3) May I take classes at both the Winchester and at Scholar Plaza or switch campuses during the program?
No. Courses must be attended at your assigned campus from the start and through the duration of the didactic program. Students are normally not permitted to switch campuses.
4) Is the curriculum the same at both sites?
Yes. SUPA’s curriculum includes independent study, lecture, discussions, small-group work, case-based exercises, and practical application at both sites. The curriculum is delivered synchronously between the two sites utilizing distance learning technology for lecture-based learning. The lecture can originate from either site. Practical application courses such as physical exam, anatomy lab, and clinical integration case exercises are held in an in-person format with a low student to faculty ratio comparable at both sites. On occasion, students may be required to travel to either one of the sites or to another location for special events or training.
1) If I am admitted to the SUPA Program, may I defer my admission to the following year?
No. The PA Program is unable to defer admissions. Candidates who have not yet matriculated are not eligible for a leave of absence.
2) If I have alternate status and are not admitted, do I need to reapply the following year?
Yes, candidates on the wait-list who are not offered a seat for the current admissions cycle must reapply through CASPA in order to be considered for subsequent admission decisions.
3) If I am denied, can I reapply and how can I improve my application?
The SUPA Program encourages reapplication as it is an indication of motivation and perseverance. The successful candidate typically exceeds minimum entrance requirements in multiple areas. In addition, his/her interview demonstrates a high level of professionalism, in-depth knowledge regarding the SUPA Program and the PA profession as well as excellent communication skills. Candidates may request a general review of their application by email through the admissions email. The program publishes a “Characteristics of Admitted Students’ ‘ profile on its recently admitted class on its web site to view as a benchmark for improving one’s application.
I have a foreign medical degree; do I still need to complete the:
Prerequisites or an English proficiency exam?
Yes. Candidates with transcripts from another country must submit them to the World Education Services (WES) (or equivalent) for course-to-course translation and evaluation (or equivalent). Courses taken outside of the United States will count toward degree requirements and overall/science GPAs. Prerequisites must be completed at a college or university in the United States therefore, the prerequisite GPA cannot be determined from courses outside of the United States. Please contact Shenandoah University’s International Admissions Office if you have questions regarding English proficiency and visa requirements. The phone number is 540-665-4581.
Yes. There is no test which an international medical graduate (IMG) can take to obtain a PA license, or become nationally certified as a PA. All IMGs accepted into the program are not given priority consideration and must complete the entire program. Courses previously taken in medical school cannot be substituted for courses taken in the SUPA program.
Additional information on the PA Profession can be obtained at these Web sites:
American Academy of Physician Assistants
Physician Assistant Education Association
National Commission on Certification of PAs
Shenandoah University, Division of Physician Assistant Studies
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/Phone: 540-542-6208
Hours of Operation: M-F, 9:00am – 5:00pm (EST)